Prepared by: Shorouk Mastour – Blogger and political science student / international relations

  • Arab Democratic Center

Introduction:

The variables and determinants that control the interpretation of international interactions and relations vary and religion occupies an important place in various political studies. Despite the fact that the realist school has long dominated the interpretation of phenomena in international relations, the religious variable has emerged clearly, especially after the Cold War and After the events of September 11, when many conflicts and conflicts with a religious dimension emerged, such as the war in Afghanistan and the second Gulf War, which many Muslims considered a contemporary form of the Crusades, and many terms crystallized in this regard, among them Islamophobia, a phenomenon that spread in Europe and Especially in France, and this term has floated to the surface again due to the statements of French President Emmanuel Macron, which led to tension in relations between him and many parties, including the Turkish side, and despite the fact that Turkish-French relations have a long history and go back to François I’s alliance. And Solomon the Great in 1536 toSome analysts consider it a relationship characterized by tension most of the time, and from here we can raise the following problem.

  • What is the future of Turkish-French relations in light of the growing Islamophobia in France?

Franco-Turkish relations:

Turkish-French relations have a long history and go back to the year 1536, as this year was determined as the official start of Turkish-French relations, and since 1935, France has had a continuous diplomatic representation in Turkey. When talking about the relationship between the two countries, it is necessary to emphasize the economic relations that played a decisive role, as the close cooperation between these two countries in the field of economy and trade provided a strong basis for a healthy relationship, and Turkey is the fifth largest market for France outside the European Union and Switzerland and is ranked 12th in the world. Throughout history three times at war. The first war was fought by these two countries at the end of the eighteenth century during Napoleon’s campaign against Egypt and Syria between 1798 and 1800. The second confrontation took place during the First World War. The third confrontation was during the Turkish War of Independence, known as the Cilicia War or the Franco-Turkish War from 1920 to 21.[1]

Islamophobia:

Although Islamophobia has become a common phenomenon in the media, there is no widely accepted definition of this term. The Organization of the Islamic Conference condemns the growing phenomenon of Islamophobia. In its latest report, with the following words: Islamophobia, a phenomenon linked to concepts of fear, hate and anger, the 1997 Runnymede Trust report described Islamophobia as “a short and effective way to refer to a state of dread or hatred directed against Islam and thus leading to fear or hatred of all or most Muslims.” The term English consists From the two words “Islam” and “Phobia” which means “phobia” or “fear”, and the term means “Islamophobia” or “pathological fear of Islam”, it is a term coined to express a phenomenon that has spread widely in Western societies, especially Europe . (2)

This term first appeared in 1997, when a British left-wing research body called the “Renmade Trust” used it to condemn the growing feelings of hatred and fear of Islam and Muslims, in a research study aimed at shedding light on the phenomenon, entitled “Islamophobia: A Challenge to Us All.”

Since the end of the last century this issue has turned into a general phenomenon where we can refer to a period of growth and its formation in a remarkable way, in the wake of the terrorist attacks against the United States of America on the eleventh of September 2001 and 20 years after the first report issued by the “Remind Trust” was completed Writing a second report entitled “Islamophobia: It still represents a challenge for all of us,” as this report confirmed the transformation of Islamophobia into a global phenomenon, which they believe is an issue that calls for dealing with it with greater seriousness; Given its danger to societal peace in the world … all over the Western world, various reports have appeared documenting the manifestations of Islamophobia and its extent as a phenomenon. An example of this is what CAIR has documented about an increasing case of anti-Muslim bias and hate crimes against Muslims [3]

Islamophobia tries to hide behind the freedom of expression and the right to criticize Islam like other religions, beliefs and ideologies, in order to spread and fuel hate speech.

Islamophobia in France:

Some French Muslims have stated that they are constantly targeted because of their religion in discriminatory and racist campaigns, and this issue has long led to tension in the country.

And in the recent period, the wave of “Islamophobia” has increased in the country, and this is with the widespread arrest campaigns launched by the government in addition to the closure of associations that it considers extremist, and with news of a willingness to expel 231 foreigners, and all this against the background of raising a history teacher of a sensitive issue by publishing cartoons Of the Prophet Muhammad, it was published by the satirical “Charlie Hebdo” magazine [4]

Thomas Deltombe, the French political thinker and author of the book “Imagined Islam”, wrote

Three phases linked it to building the topic of “Islam in France,” meaning Islamophobia in France:

The first stage was in the period between the seventies and eighties: Islam was viewed at that time as the cause of the oil crisis, as well as with the Iranian revolution in 1978/1979 as it was analyzed as “the return of Islam”, which threatens the West, as images of this revolution were added. For them, Islam represents the images of the Islamic world responsible for the crisis, in addition to the immigration that was linked to the Muslim element that was considered “inconsistent” with French society. A new trend began to appear parallels the “foreign workers” with the emergence of the National Front for the Unity of France, “where the reason for its establishment or the declared pretext was what caused the crisis, and hostility to immigration and Islam formed a prominent place in this party’s speeches, in the election campaigns and in its nationalist propaganda.” Xenophobia The second stage extends from the 1980s to 2001: The situation began to worsen due to the measures taken by the governments during that period, as the presence of immigrants without identity papers was legalized, while the conditions for receiving and residing in foreigners were improved. This led to the development of the xenophobia movement, and throughout this period Islamophobia continued to grow. In 1987 the National Front published its first anti-Islam posters, on the initiative of one of its leaders: Jean-Pierre Stirbois.

As for the third stage, it begins after the bombings announced by Al-Qaeda in the United States, which were then followed by the second intervention in Iraq, and the repetition of attacks that were attributed to the various Islamist groups or that they announced (from the first groups affiliated with Al-Qaeda, to what is announced today in the name of “ISIS”), and continues all this with the intensification of the economic crisis, unemployment and concerns about identities associated with uncontrolled globalization.

A change in the course of Turkish-French relations:

The relations between the countries were stable and stable to a large extent and despite the existence of common interests between them until the recent period escalated crises and disagreements on the horizon between them, which led to the exchange of bitter statements between the French president and his Turkish counterpart, and analysts consider that Turkish-French relations most of the time Not feeling well, although the two countries are members of NATO, and both Paris and Ankara are currently experiencing tension in relations as the two countries faced each other in another crisis in the eastern Mediterranean. On June 10, a maritime crisis broke out between the two countries off the Libyan coast.

The impact of Islamophobia on Turkish-French relations:

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is considered one of the advocates of combating anti-Islam, as he called on the anniversary of the Bosnian massacres to combat anti-Islam just as it did with anti-Semitism, and stressed in his statements that the world should draw lessons from the inaction of international institutions and countries that were satisfied with following up during the occurrence of the genocide In Bosnia, Erdogan stated that countries that used to view the world from the perspective of human rights and democracy are now at the top of countries dominated by Islamophobia and hostility to foreigners, and that European Muslims are systematically subjected to racism and deprived of their rights and freedoms, and for this “as anti-Semitism was fought after the Holocaust disaster. Therefore, hostility to Islam must be combated in the same way and Muslims must be protected [5]

Some parties consider that the dispute between the two countries has become clear that it is a religious dispute, my identities. Turkey is not alone in speaking and defending Islam. The French government in turn condemned the Turkish authorities ’decision to transfer the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul from a museum to a mosque. Where “France denounces the Turkish Supreme Court’s decision to amend the status of the Saint Sophia Museum and the presidential decree issued by President Erdogan to convert the Hagia Sophia Museum into a mosque, under the authority of the Presidency of Religious Affairs, after the decision of the Supreme Administrative Court in Turkey.” This French condemnation is tantamount to announcing a religious disagreement. This Christian European country did not accept that the museum that had previously been a church be converted into a mosque.

Islamophobia, or anti-Islam, has now become a main cause in the dispute between the two countries. After the French President Emmanuel Macron defended the offensive cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, may God bless him and grant him peace, and Islam described him as a religion in crisis around the world, the Turkish president, in turn, launched a sharp attack on his French counterpart, demanding By “examining his mental health” and denouncing the policies of his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron towards Muslims, saying in a televised speech, “What can one say about a head of state who treats millions of followers of different religions in this way?” First of all: check your mental health.

Macron’s proposal to protect his country’s secular values ​​from the followers of extremist Islamic currents angered the Turkish government, adding this to the list of many differences between the French President and Erdogan. (6)

And the Anatolia News Agency has re-published a lengthy analytical report, titled “The hatred of the Crusades. The report states the insistence of the French authorities, to continue the offensive campaign of the Prophet Muhammad (may God bless him and grant him peace), as this offensive campaign goes beyond the attempt to win over the extreme right for electoral purposes. Rather, it reflects a state of a phobia of Islam that has its roots in the Crusades (1095-1492AD).

The report also stated that the extreme right is trying to portray Europe as a center of freedom, in exchange for Islamic countries as a center of slavery, to justify their Crusades and their extermination of millions of Muslims in Andalusia in 1492 AD, and the killing of millions of other Muslims during their 132-year occupation of Algeria.

The Turkish side considers modern France at a crossroads; Either abandoning its colonial past and moving forward with a policy of integrating immigrants and respecting their identity, or surrendering to the extreme right and entering into a confrontation with the Islamic world, and risking falling into the quagmire of internal strife with its Muslim citizens.

The Turkish president called for a boycott of French goods and declared that hostility to Islam and Muslims has become a supported policy at the level of presidents in some European countries.

Thus, the occurrence of tension between the two countries is a heavy loss for France, as Turkey represents an important market for French products, considering it occupies the 14th place in the list of the largest importers of French products.

According to ITC Trade data, France’s exports to Turkey in 2019 amounted to about $ 6.655 billion.

The department of the French goods and commodities boycott in Turkey expanded to include an invitation from members of associations, businessmen, economic organizations, and the Turkish charitable association “Aha Ha”. A source from the “Musiad” association says that although most of the major contracts, energy and industries, are concluded between the government The Turkish side and the French side, but the popular and non-governmental boycott will have the greatest impact, because it is daily exchanges and consumption. “We do not rule out postponing or even canceling government contracts, even with Total Energy or even arms development companies.”

The Turkish researcher, Wehbe, confirmed the expansion of the response on the Turkish street to the province, and emphasized that there are no “basic or essential” French products in the Turkish markets, but there are local or European alternatives, at the level of machines and cars, and even at the level of government contracts with energy and joint industries.

This means that the impact of the Turkish boycott on France will be great, because the boycott receives a popular consensus [7]

Conclusion :

It seems that the future of Turkish-French relations is heading towards a more complex path, and this is based on following the path of bilateral relations between the two parties, which have always witnessed a state of uncertainty and vacillation, and that the improvement of bilateral relations is linked to a change in the approach and policy of the two countries towards each other, and currently in light of the adherence of the two parties With more rigid positions, it seems that the solution has become more difficult, and since religion is a decisive tool in Turkish foreign policy, especially after the arrival of the Justice and Development Party, which has Islamic roots, Macron’s continuation of his current approach, which is described as anti-Islam, will lead to Turkey more adherence to its decision, in order to preserve Its principles are awaiting an apology from the French side, so according to recent data, analysts suggest that relations will continue to fluctuate between ebbs and flows, but without reaching the point of a comprehensive rupture, but it will reach an advanced stage of disagreement.

List of references:

  • Addis Dudarega and Halim Rai / “Islamophobia”: Islamophobia or political Islam / Believers Without Borders for Studies and Research
  • Sanaa El-Khoury / Between Erdogan and Macron a power struggle with a religious flavor / BBC news / Publication date 9 October 2020

https://www.bbc.com/arabic/middleeast-54465403

  • Adnan Abdel-Razzaq / Turkish calls to boycott French products escalate / Al-Jadeed Al-Arabiya / Posted on October 28, 2020

https://www-alaraby-co-uk.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.alaraby.co.uk/economy/%D8%AA%D8%B5%D8%A7%D8%B9%D8 % AF-% D8% A7% D9% 84% D8% AF% D8% B9% D9% 88% D8% A7% D8% AA-% D8% A7% D9% 84% D8% AA% D8% B1% D9 % 83% D9% 8A% D8% A9-% D9% 84% D9% 85% D9% 82% D8% A7% D8% B7% D8% B9% D8% A9-% D8% A7% D9% 84% D9 % 85% D9% 86% D8% AA% D8% AC% D8% A7% D8% AA-% D8% A7% D9% 84% D9% 81% D8% B1% D9% 86% D8% B3% D9% 8A% D8% A9? Amp = 1

  • On the anniversary of the Bosnian massacres … Erdogan: Anti-Islamism must be combated / Al-Jazeera / Posted on 11/11/2020

https://www.aljazeera.net/news/politics/2020/11/2/%D9%81%D9%8A-%D8%B0%D9%83%D8%B1%D9%89-%D9%85 % D8% AC% D8% A7% D8% B2% D8% B1-% D8% A7% D9% 84% D8% A8% D9% 88% D8% B3% D9% 86% D8% A9-% D8% A3 % D8% B1% D8% AF% D9% 88% D8% BA% D8% A7% D9% 86-% D9% 8A% D8% AC% D8% A8

  • We heard about “Islamophobia”, what does it mean / Arabic Post / Publication date 08/12/2019 / Access date 5/11/2020
  • The wave of “Islamophobia” … and France is apprehensive / Al-Qabas International / Posted on October 20, 2020

https://alqabas.com/article/5809689-%D9%85%D9%88%D8%AC%D8%A9-%D8%A5%D8%B3%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%85% D9% 88% D9% 81% D9% 88% D8% A8% D9% 8A% D8% A7-% D9% 88% D9% 81% D8% B1% D9% 86% D8% B3% D8% A7-% D9% 85% D8% AA% D9% 88% D8% AC% D8% B3% D8% A9

  • Davut Han Aslan/ THE HISTORICAL BACKGROUND AND THE PRESENT STATE OF TURKISH-FRENCH RELATIONS/ Vistula University – Warsaw, Poland

[1] Davut Han Aslan/ THE HISTORICAL BACKGROUND AND THE PRESENT STATE OF TURKISH-FRENCH RELATIONS/ Vistula University – Warsaw, Poland

[2]   Addis Dudarija and Halim Rai / “Islamophobia”: Phobia from Islam or Political Islam / Believers Without Borders for Studies and Research / p. 6 p. 9

[3] We heard about “Islamophobia”, what does it mean / Arabic Post / Posted on 12/08/2019 / Accessed Date 5/11/2020

[4] The   wave of “Islamophobia” … and France is apprehensive / Al-Qabas International / Posted on October 20, 2020

https://alqabas.com/article/5809689-%D9%85%D9%88%D8%AC%D8%A9-%D8%A5%D8%B3%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%85% D9% 88% D9% 81% D9% 88% D8% A8% D9% 8A% D8% A7-% D9% 88% D9% 81% D8% B1% D9% 86% D8% B3% D8% A7-% D9% 85% D8% AA% D9% 88% D8% AC% D8% B3% D8% A9

[5]   On the anniversary of the Bosnian massacres … Erdogan: Anti-Islamism must be combated / Al-Jazeera / Publication date 11/11/2020

https://www.aljazeera.net/news/politics/2020/11/2/%D9%81%D9%8A-%D8%B0%D9%83%D8%B1%D9%89-%D9%85 % D8% AC% D8% A7% D8% B2% D8% B1-% D8% A7% D9% 84% D8% A8% D9% 88% D8% B3% D9% 86% D8% A9-% D8% A3 % D8% B1% D8% AF% D9% 88% D8% BA% D8% A7% D9% 86-% D9% 8A% D8% AC% D8% A8

[6] Sanaa El-Khoury / Between Erdogan and Macron, a struggle for influence with a religious flavor / BBC news / Publication date 9 October 2020

https://www.bbc.com/arabic/middleeast-54465403

[7] Adnan Abdul-Razzaq / Turkish calls to boycott French products escalate / Al-Jadeed Al-Arabiya / Publication date October 28, 2020

https://www-alaraby-co-uk.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.alaraby.co.uk/economy/%D8%AA%D8%B5%D8%A7%D8%B9%D8 % AF-% D8% A7% D9% 84% D8% AF% D8% B9% D9% 88% D8% A7% D8% AA-% D8% A7% D9% 84% D8% AA% D8% B1% D9 % 83% D9% 8A% D8% A9-% D9% 84% D9% 85% D9% 82% D8% A7% D8% B7% D8% B9% D8% A9-% D8% A7% D9% 84% D9 % 85% D9% 86% D8% AA% D8% AC% D8% A7% D8% AA-% D8% A7% D9% 84% D9% 81% D8% B1% D9% 86% D8% B3% D9% 8A% D8% A9? Amp = 1